As a pre-planning post I wrote to warn you all that I was planning to activate 2 SOTA of 10 points each taking advantage of my trip to Tudela 100Km South of my QTH to take my daughter and 2 friends of her for a visit-party with other girls friends of them living there.
You can see both mountains far in the distance with snow on their tops in this picture I took some time ago from near my QTH in Pamplona.
Well, everything happened as planned except for the drive from Tudela to the start point (140Km in total from my QTH), which took me a bit longer than expected and also the hike was long and tough.
At the start point, I met JAP, my ex-colleague of my University times, who has lately become my usual companion of SOTA activations.
This is the track we followed. We took the upper branch, which took us to the T-junction you can see in the image:
That T-Junction was the col between the 2 mountains:
We started our hike with some fog.
We found some few patches of snow, which were very much enjoyed by Lucho, the dog:
After about 75 minutes of hike, we reached the col where the T-junction in the GPS track is and this was the impressive Mt. Moncayo EA2/ZG-001 seen from there:
I decided to go to Moncayo EA2/ZG-001 first, because I had never activated the EA2/ZG region before and with the low clouds of storm developing in the valley at the North side of the mountain we were not sure to be able to carry out the second activation of the day.
I took this picture shortly after having started the final ascent to Moncayo and you can see my friend JAP after leaving the col between the 2 mountains and our second planned summit of the day in the background.
After a tough final ascent, I reached the summit about 2 hours after our start and I quickly set up with my fishing pole attached to the trig point cylinder and myself sitting at the Northern side of the summit:
The WX was changing quickly and while we were in the summit, we passed from sunshine to clouds, to cold wind and we could also hear the thunders down in the valley. We even got some few drops of rain at the summit.
This is a very popular summit and there were only 2 other people when we reached the summit but more than 20 or 30 when we left it. With so much crowd and the thunders being heard down in the Northern valley, I only activated on CW.
23 QSOs in the log, 4 of which were S2S and I even had the pleasure to log 2 DX from USA.
This is the full log:
This is the S2S log:
I quickly packed up and we descended with serious doubts about whether activating the second summit of the day Peña Negrilla EA1/SO-003 would be possible.
When we got down to the col between the 2 mountains, there were still thunders coming from the Norhtern valley of the mountain and also big clouds were coming and entering towards this second summit.
We had a while of hesitation but I finally decided to go for it.
Another tough hike, which despite being it shorter than the first one, it was the second one of the day and the effort already done up to this point, made it feel almost as tough as the first one if not more.
I reached the summit first and I found that instead of a trig point, there was a big cairn, which I nicely used to hold my fishing rod in vertical position.
This is the picture of the antenna set-up which I took right before dismanteling for descent.
When I was setting up the antenna wire was catching a lot of static and I was constantly receiving electrical discharges on my hands from the wire and its connector I have in it to plug into the box with the un-un. However, I decided to go ahead and try a quick activation.
I also buried the end of the counterpoise wire on the ground and this seemed to help to discharge the static in the endfed wire.
When I started the activation, the QRN was severe and I was even receiving small electrical discharges on my ears coming from the headphones.
With all these constrains, this was an even shorter activation.
I started CQing and Manuel EA2DT chased me first, after which he spotted me. Then I got a number of chasers but less numerous than in my previous activation.
A total of 12 QSOs in the log and 1 S2S.
This is the full log:
And this is the S2S log:
Congrats and thanks, Heinz @HB9BCB for having chased me S2S on the 2 summits.
Due to the thunders still being heard, when no more chasers called in, I announced QRT, packed up and we descended, which took us nearly another 2 hours.
Before leaving the summit of Peña Negrilla, I took this picture of Mt. Moncayo:
Once at the parking, we put everything in the trunck and went for a drink to the bar by the Sanctuary of Moncayo, which was very close to where we had parked to start the hike.
There we learnt that all those thunders we were hearing while we were in the summits, poured very heavy rain and sleet down and also in the Sanctuary where we were at now.
We started our hike at 08h17 utc and got back to the car at 15h00 utc. A very enjoyed long time in the mountains, a very good hike and 2 SOTA of 10 points each activated.
Thanks dear chasers for your calls and QSOs.